A Zero Fossil Fuel Initiative
As NZ0 embarked on our mission to develop and provide the most sustainable food possible, we began to understand the complexities and common confusion around emissions, pollution and even what zero carbon certification means.
We soon discovered that we weren't alone in this confusion, we all want to choose products that are better for the environment, and for us, so we look for the right certifications to ensure we are choosing the most suitable options possible. But what do all those certifications and definitions mean?
Naturally, this confusion created a communication problem for NZ0 and our goal of fossil fuel free foods and how the industry, consumer and wider public perceives that. We could quite easily become zero carbon certified, with a reduction plan and a few dollars to offset our emissions, but this didn’t feel, or sit quite right with us.
If a business offsets their pollution to become ‘net zero carbon’, the question remains how much have they actually changed their behaviour, if at all? In our opinion, this point of difference between offsetting and actual zero fossil fuel use in critical.
It quickly became clear to us that growers or producers that actively seek and remove all fossil fuel emissions from their growing process deserve a certification that helps to identify to the consumer this point of difference. This in turn helps to push the issue around offsetting vs zero fossil fuel use and encourages consumers to support this new gold standard of zero fossil fuel use through clear, guaranteed identification.
As a result, we reached out to AsureQuality and created a new type of certification programme. This programme aims to reflect the technological advancements now available to allow growers to completely remove fossil fuel combustion from their growing operations.
The certification is also a key step in rebuilding consumer trust by providing an authentic and trustworthy certification, while eliminating green-washing that leaves the consumer and growers unsatisfied and frustrated.
While robust, the NZ0 Certification is simple in structure with the expectation that all fossil fuels from the farm or orchard are no longer used, or have already been removed. AsureQuality's role as independent auditor is to maintain consumer trust in the certification and provide assurance that these changes are permanent and adhered to through a regular auditing process.
Through the introduction of this new, zero fossil fuel standard, we are confident that consumers can trust that these growers are being held to account through regular, stringent audits and random site visits to ensure no fossil fuels are being used in the growing process.
The certification came about due to the complexities and common confusion there currently is in the market around emissions, pollution, offsetting and carbon certifications in general.
NZ0 felt strongly there there was a need for a clear, honest and simply structured certification that was black and white when it came it’s purpose; Growers that carry this certification, use zero fossil fuels onsite, unless it is technologically impossible to do otherwise.
As an organisation, we still encourage that zero carbon certification(s) be widely adopted, but the specific removal of fossil fuels in the growing process will help drive true change to our industry, economy and environment.
If a business offsets their pollution to become ‘net zero carbon’, how much have they actually changed their behaviour, if at all? In our opinion, this point of difference between offsetting and actual zero fossil fuel use in critical. Having a zero fossil fuel approach is the best we can be, given current technological limitations!
AsureQuality's role as independent auditor is to maintain consumer trust in the certification and provide assurance that these changes are permanent and adhered to through a regular auditing process of all participants of the Certification.
There is no tolerance of fossil fuel purchases made by the grower for farm activities. This includes purchases from the company bank accounts, credit cards, debit cards, vouchers or gifts as well as purchases by employees.
No fossil fuel-based equipment is be used, stored or owned by the farm. This includes redundant equipment.
The farm / orchard must choose their suppliers (including processing / manufacturing sites) with preference given to those that operate their business, and are closely aligned with the NZ0 Certification Values. In order of preference these are:
1. Completely Electrified
2. Green Hydrogen from renewable sources (wind, solar or hydro)
3. Toitū Climate Positive or Ekos Climate Positive
4. Toitū Carbon Zero or Ekos Zero Carbon
5. Toitū Carbon Reduce or Ekos Carbon Friendly or a Science Based Target approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
6. All other providers - If other providers are used, emissions must be offset.
There are currently three aspects to the certification. Grower, Producer & Transitional/Provisional.
Provisional membership allows growers or producers to become part of the program through a series of steps and timeline, similar to other grower and farmer standards, ensuring entry to the certification is realistic and viable. It is important to note that the provisional membership has a list of requirements to ensure that the organisation(s) are actively moving towards zero fossil fuel use.
Three certification marks have been created. These marks will be placed on packaging, marketing collateral and websites as long as the organisation remains NZ0 certified.
NZ0 Grower Certification - For growers who use zero fossil fuels on farm.
NZ0 Producer Certification - For producers who use zero fossil fuels on farm, and in production.
NZ0 Transitional Certification - For growers, or producers who are in the transitional phase towards zero fossil fuel use on farm, and in production.
At the bottom of this page are the most recent standards, scheme rules, and branding/communications guidelines.
We’d encourage anyone who would like further information to get in contact with either Mike Casey or Michiel Reuvecamp via the details at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, visit the contact page and fill out the form and a NZ0 representative will be in touch to discuss further.
With the scheme recently launching in September 2022, Forest Lodge Orchard in Mount Pisa, Central Otago is currently the only NZ0 Certified organisation.
Documents & Downloads
Overview of the standard and requirements.View PDF
Certification Scheme Rules
Overview of the certification scheme rulesView PDF
Certification Branding Specifications
Overview document regarding the certification mark and copywriting guidelines.View PDF
Link to AsureQuality website with details about their background and credentials.Visit Website
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